The 2020 Census is right around the corner! Every 10 years, the federal government is required by the U.S. Constitution to count all residents in this country. This official count is used for everything from deciding representation in Congress to determining how much federal funding states and communities receive for vital programs for their residents. In addition, businesses use the data from the Census to decide where to build new stores, houses, and hospitals.

Why should we at LFSVA care about the 2020 Census?

  • Some of those we serve are among the most likely to be missed: children in foster care, people of color, recent immigrants, people with disabilities, and low-income communities.
  • If people are missed, Virginia could lose out on millions of dollars that go to our communities for programs such as special education, school lunches, foster care and adoption, and housing. In 2016, Virginia received almost $78 billion in federal funding for programs guided by Census data.
  • We won’t have a chance to correct any undercounts until 2030.

What is involved in filling out the Census form?

The Census questionnaire is convenient and easy to complete. It will only take 10 minutes, and you can fill it out online, over the phone (in multiple languages), or on paper.

You will receive mail from the U.S. Census Bureau in March asking you to complete the questionnaire, and reminders will be mailed throughout the spring if your household has not yet been counted. To avoid a phone call or knock on your door starting in May, fill it out when it first becomes available.

Is it safe to participate in the 2020 Census?

Yes. The information that the Census Bureau collects through the 2020 Census is only used to compile statistics. Laws prevent Census Bureau employees from sharing data with other branches of government or landlords, and those laws are enforced by large fines and jail time. The Census will not ask for social security numbers, bank account or credit card numbers.

How should you prepare for the 2020 Census?

Stay tuned to LFSVALIFE, our website, and our Facebook page. We’ll be providing updates and FAQs throughout the next few months to ensure that we are all informed about how the Census affects us and the individuals and families we serve.

If you have questions or ideas about how to spread the word, please contact Margaret Nimmo Holland, VP of External Relations, at mholland@lfsva.org.